Raila meeting disrupted by ‘hustler-chanting’ youths
Stone-pelting youths chanting the “hustler” yesterday disrupted ODM leader Raila Odinga’s rally to drum up support for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) in the sprawling Githurai area in Kiambu county.
The “hustler” chant has lately become the campaign slogan for Deputy President William Ruto and his supporters.
The irate youths stoned several vehicles including Raila’s entourage leaving his chase car badly damaged. Also damaged was the windscreen of a vehicle belonging to one of the media houses.
Police officers were forced to use teargas to disperse the rowdy youths, leaving scores injured.
Tension had been high in the area from early morning with many traders at the usually busy roadside market closing their businesses for fear of a likely confrontation between Raila and Ruto’s supporters.
Public vehicles which ply the Thika superhighway also kept off the Githurai stage fearing the chaos.
Raila, accompanied by more than 20 MPs was in Githurai to popularise the BBI after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) transmitted the bill to the 47 counties after approving 1.14 million signatures supporting it.
Ahead of his visit to Githurai, Raila held a short meeting with musicians and small traders from central Kenya at the Homeland restaurant on the Thika Superhighway.
He addressed a rally at Roysambu roundabout before leaving for the nearby Githurai market.
Raila braved incessant heckling by the pro-Ruto youths to address his supporters at Githurai market dismissing the protestors thus; “Hizo ni kelele za chura ambazo haziwezi kuzuia ng’ombe kunywa maji (the noise of frogs that cannot stop the cows from drinking water).”
“Kila Mkenya yuko na haki ya kuishi na kufanya kazi mahali popote nchini (Every Kenyan has the right to live and work wherever they wish in this country).”
“We have a big agenda to bring development and build a peaceful and stable country regardless of anyone’s tribe. This Kenya is for us all,” he said.
At the same time, Raila took a swipe at his critics saying that he is unwelcome in Mt Kenya region.
“There are those who say that I am unwelcome in Mt Kenya. What sin has Raila committed not to be welcomed,” he posed.
The two parties later traded accusations over the chaos, with ODM spokesman Philip Etale blaming Nominated senator Isaac Mwaura and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria for the chaos.
“Now let’s talk facts: Last evening, MPs Mwaura, Moses Kuria and Nixon Korir met to mobilise youth to disrupt Baba’s meeting in Githurai.
They mobilised funds and gave a down payment to them and promised to give the balance once they finish the job this evening.
We know how much was given and who was given the money . They thrive in hiring goons to cause havoc and chaohe tweeted.
But in a rejoinder, Mwaura hit back, claiming the violence was organised by among others Nominated MP Maina Kamanda and his Ruaraka counterpart Tom Kajwang.
“Edwin Sifuna and ODM, you hired your goons from Baba Dogo together with Maina Kamanda, TJ Kajwang and Babu Owino to come cause chaos, then blame it on others in a very well choreographed scheme.
Gïthurai people are very peaceful and closed their businesses because they knew of your party’s consistent behavior of violence.
Every Kenyan knows that. You cannot fool all people all the time. Gïthurai ni bedroom ya #HustlerNation,” he tweeted.
Addressing the crowd at Githurai, Raila narrated the rich history between the Kenyatta and Odinga families dating back to the pre-independence days, Raila reminded the crowds of his “Kibaki Tosha” declaration which propelled then opposition leader Mwai Kibaki to the presidency in 2002.
“When I come to this region, I am coming to my in-laws. No one can prevent me from coming,” he noted.
He rallied the traders to support him and president Uhuru Kenyatta in the proposed law review through the BBI report.
“BBI is bringing a youth commission which will also allow our women to borrow to improve their businesses. You are loaned but you will not be charged any interest,” he said.
“You will also have a tax holiday for up to seven years,” he added insisting a similar initiative was adopted by China, India and South Korea economies.
Raila accused the DP of failing to implement the laptops’ promise to pupils, the building of stadiums and the creation of jobs.
The ODM leader asked the youth not to be fooled into buying the wheelbarrow narrative adding that the DP could not be trusted to lead the country.
“He said once they assume office, every Standard One going child will get a laptop. It’s been eight years, the children who were in class one are now in class eight probably going to sit for national exams, have those laptops been given,” he posed.
During the tour, Raila assured Githurai traders that the government will construct a bridge over the railway line to help the locals move from one end to the other.
Siaya Senator James Orengo regretted the chaos saying that Kenya belongs to all of “us and we have a right to hold a rally here.”
“Baba has come to Githurai to preach peace, we don’t condone violence because Kenya is a free world. Stop stupidity, we will come again and again,” said Orengo.